Divorce, or the break up of a long-term partnership is tough for all involved. The ripples go out from the individuals involved and their immediate family out into their circle of friends and even work colleagues.

Whatever the reasons for it are, emotions are likely to be strong. Adjustments need to be made and life won’t be the same again.

It takes time to get out the other side and into your new life.

 I’ve been through a couple of divorces myself, sadly, for completely different reasons. I’ve talked about it here in order to show that I’m not just speaking from a theoretical view point.

In this article, at the end, I have summarised the things that I found useful at the time to help me cope and also what I would do differently now.

 

My story

 

Married at 20

My first husband and I met in 1977 and married in 1979 (I was twenty, he was twenty one). I/we decided to completely renovate a house (as in down to the bare bones – no floor boards/walls due to woodworm!) after I finished my degree. We also got very involved with German Shepherd Dog training, as well as working full time. In hindsight, we had a lot going on and there wasn’t much time for relaxation and fun.

He went away to train for a new job and, in six weeks, found someone else. I obviously knew something was wrong and I prised it out of him when he came home for Christmas. It was a massive shock. We’d been trying for a family before this happened.

I was only twenty five and I didn’t cope well. I hated being alone. I threw myself into my work and the dogs. Fortunately, I was even able to take the dogs into my office at the weekend! We went to Birmingham on the train and got the lift up to the 7th floor! Then a few of us went for a drink and bite to eat in a local pub before going home, the company really helped.

The reaction of my friends and family was varied.

Empathy – it is surprising how few people understand this. Sitting in the hole someone is in without judgement, just listening.

A number of people decided it was the time to show my I wasn’t unique by telling me their darkest secrets about their relationships and those of other family members. This just added to the level of shock and horror in my life at that time and made me feel alone and unheard.

My husband did ask me to give our relationship another try in the May but I was already seeing someone else. Many horrible things had been said by him about me and the trust had gone so I felt I needed to make a fresh start.

In hindsight perhaps I should have given it another go. Marriage does go through ups and downs and we had been happy. He was a very talented artist and sculptor but working in retail. With my successful career he could have stayed home and pursued that and perhaps been a house husband. Who knows, it didn’t happen.

The divorce went through without acrimony. I felt it was important to be fair rather than revengeful.

I did forgive him reasonably quickly and was able to appreciate the good times we had together. He stayed in his new relationship and they returned to our area and got a new GSD so we ended up friends at the dog club until he emigrated to Australia and they had a family there.

Married again … age 27!

I next had the stereotypical relationship ‘on the rebound’.

Someone at the dog club who I’d known for years (together with his wife and children) had split up from his wife and we started seeing each other.

I’d not been to the club for a while because my first husband had the car when he was away.

Unfortunately, I’d missed some events that would have been useful information for me. A couple of people did sit me down and say he wasn’t a good choice. I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t have the maturity to ask questions and find out what they were concerned about.

Steve and I were having fun so I decided to go with my gut feel and keep seeing him. We did get on extremely well, liked the same things and laughed a lot. He was a very intelligent and popular chap. He did like a drink but so did I (socially, and he had a tough job in the Police.

We married in 1986. I sold my house to move to a Police house so his daughters (one/both lived with us) could stay at their schools. His ex-wife hated me. She had a child with her new fella so I was led to believe this was why their marriage had broken up. (I was told many years later that his drinking had caused them to lose their house and that is why they had split up. Nobody told me in all the years we were together, and it made me very angry for a while.)

We wanted a family together. He’d had a vasectomy in his twenties so had two painful reversal operations so we could try for our own family but they didn’t work. We had one round of IVF with donor insemination in 1992 and then life fell apart.

His drinking became a massive problem, he wasn’t coping at work and drank during the day as well as at night. It was very scary.

I hurt my back (psychosomatically I’m not surprised – it is about having too much to cope with!) pulling up a computer room tile. Then, just to finish things off, I got made redundant out of the blue from my senior management IT role too!

I had no job; a husband swinging between the person I knew and an erratic drunken stranger; teenage step-daughters throwing wobblies and pinging between us and their mother; oh and one of our three dogs wanted to kill one of the others too….

It was horrendous. People outside didn’t really see anything was wrong.

My self-esteem was at rock bottom.

The path back to being myself again

I attended a half day a week ‘self-esteem’ course. I didn’t know what to expect but it changed my life. The tutor introduced me to Louise Hay‘s work and her ‘subliminal affirmation’ cassette tapes were my prop. I played them in the car and at home, they made such a difference to my life. I also found her morning and evening affirmations.

It was lovely to have Louise telling me she loved me every morning and evening! I also realised I’d lost my own identity now the identity we’d had as a couple had been destroyed. I had to find that again.

I recovered enough to get a new job in 1993 and decided we should move house again in 1995 (we’d bought our own house a few years earlier). We moved out into the countryside between our workplaces and hoped it would be the fresh start he needed to sort the drinking out.

It wasn’t. I’ve talked about the drinking in another blog so won’t go into that again.

I knew somehow that there had to be a way we could separate and both have a fresh start. In 1999 this did happen. He lived a couple of miles away and we stayed friends. Sadly, he continued drinking and getting into debt and died a few years later.

Once I was on my own I had to really focus on putting myself back together.

I had a good career at work. My parents were brilliant looking after the dogs at times (and me). This allowed me to go on personal development weekends away where I started to find myself again (thanks to Roy Martin for running those) and I made friends.

Slowly I managed to build myself a new life.

I started reading and listening to lots of Hay House and other materials – Susan Jeffers’ “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, Wayne Dyer’s work, Byron Katie, etc.

Chiropractic fixed my bad back after medical interventions failed.

I tried crystals, essences, homoeopathy, reiki, massage. I had spiritual healing from a Brummie ex-roofer who had healed his wife’s broken toe and set off on a new path was bizarre and yet deeply effective (I started to see what was happening as he worked).

My career in my ‘normal life’ was going well and I resumed dog training again, and motorhome holidays away.

This all made me fascinated with energy medicine. I wanted know more and eventually got to do it for a living.

I met Chris in 2008 on a sailing holiday in Croatia … a new life started.

What I learned

Here are some things I learned. Things will be different for you but I hope you can find some useful ideas here.

1. Give yourself time to feel

Honour how you feel and the emotions that come up. Focus on releasing them. Bottling them up in our bodies is very bad for us in the longer term. 

The range of emotions brought up can be vast. Many are powerful and hard to handle – grief, anger, frustration, impatience, jealousy, blame…  

Some emotions are directed at ourselves, some to the other person/people involved and/or about the many hoops that have to be jumped through.

Do this releasing in private so it is uninhibited, here are some quick ideas

  • Write a lengthy rant about everything on a piece of paper and destroy it.
  • Tapping is brilliant (EFT) – you can tap the various points while you rant – relief is perceptible.
  • Flower essences – such as Bach Rescue Remedy or Alaskan Soul Support can ease some of the stress and anxieties.

2. Take care who you talk to (and what you share with whom)

Some people will add to your mental angst. They turn the conversation around to them and it will feel as though they are belittling your feelings. That lack of empathy can just add to your pain and is no help to you at all. You will be better putting on a brave face to those people rather than blurting out all your feelings.

What you need is someone who will listen and empathise with you without offering suggestions. 

Thoughts Become Things… Choose the Good Ones!®

– Mike Dooley

3. Watch your thoughts

I believe we can draw in a better future through controlling our thoughts and feelings. Spend some time each day focusing on dreaming the future you would love to have. Even if real life is bad.

I remember thinking to myself “I can’t take any more” one really bad evening. The following day the Universe proved I could – by flooding the ground floor of my house!

I have never allowed myself to think like that again!

These days I am a big fan of “dreaming my life into being” by focusing on how I want things to be rather than how they actually are.

My inspirations for this are Mike Dooley, Abraham-Hicks, Anita Moorjani, Joe Dispenza, Alberto Villoldo, Jane Robertson (Seth books) and other authors.

4. Get your mood up

Have fun! Spend time with people not involved with the situation who lift you up.

Trigger all the senses to feel good:

  • Sounds – Listen to uplifting music, audiobooks etc.
  • Sights – Watch Youtube videos, films, Netflix etc. that make you feel good. Put motivational affirmations, pictures and other visual reminders up to take you forward.
  • Smells –  Spray space clearing or just nice smelling sprays around.
  • Tastes – eat foods that give you pleasure (and are also good for you)
  • Touch – go for a massage, have a bubble bath, a sauna.

Be physically active – going for a walk, run, cycle, trip to the gym. Activity lifts our mood and fitness. Yoga is great for the mind as well. Golf occupies the mind as well as body so is a good escape.. there will be something you can do that you enjoy.

Get out in nature. Go and hug a tree! You might be surprised just how good that feels. I remember leaning with my back against a huge Oak tree one time and feeling it dragging all my worries to its roots. I welled up with tears.

Find three things you are grateful every night before you go to sleep. This will tell the Universe what you want more of in your life.

5. Stay as calm, be kind, and choose your words carefully

This is something one has to practice (and it is an aim rather than reality for most of us!)

Words said in anger cannot be taken back. You loved this person once, you may have children and the relationship will therefore remain at some level forever.

There is a good soul inside that person, speak to that rather than the person who is presenting him/herself to you at this time. It will make your life easier in the long term so you will benefit from this approach.

If you can get through it feeling that you did your best and did not compromise on your values, then you will have no regrets to deal with later.

Be kind.

“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind

– Dr Wayne Dyer

 We all struggle with the insecurities of our egos, with the insecurity of being wrong.

It took me a long time to get over the lengthy criticisms I received from my first husband. I remember a gloriously sunny dog walk listening to him comparing me to his new love. Had he not done that, I might have been there for him when he wanted me back.

I did get incredible relief from smashing a glass on the hearth one day when my second husband was very drunk and had left sharp knives and a hot iron lying burning the carpet with the dogs there :-). However I wouldn’t recommend it (he was shocked at the time but didn’t even remember me doing it afterwards, of course, and I was ashamed of myself for doing it).

Keeping on an even keel and retaining a sense of perspective is the best aim in my experience. Gwyneth puts it this way:

 

I wanted to turn my divorce into a positive. What if I didn’t blame the other person for anything, and held myself 100 percent accountable? What if I checked my own s— at the door and put my children first? And reminded myself about the things about my ex-husband that I love, and fostered the friendship?

– Gwyneth Paltrow

6. Find the way forward

I called the Samaritans once. That single call allowed me to clarify my thoughts and get out of the chatter produced by those with good intentions telling me what to do about my second marriage.

A number of people told me to “get out” without listening to my situation. That would have left him in a house and garden which would have been neglected I would have been unable to afford somewhere else. In the end we both had homes that suited us and set up for the future.

Take responsibility for your life. More than likely, your decisions got you into this mess (all be it a younger and less wise you) and you can get yourself out of it.

Feeling responsible for the situation might sound brutal but try taking that perspective, it actually frees you up to take action.

You have the strength to get through this (even if you don’t think you do).

Taking responsibility within ourselves (whatever has happened) is actually incredibly empowering. It gives us control of the situation from an emotional standpoint and allows us to start building a new life, letting go of the past.

7. Forgive

Forgive everything – for the sake of your own health (even if the other person’s actions could be said not to deserve it).

Not easy!

No, that isn’t easy to do. We want to scream and shout and say it isn’t fair. We want to hang onto the fairytale relationship and future we thought we were getting. We want to blame someone else for the situation we are now in. We want someone else to sort it all out for us perhaps.

However, if we take that perspective we aren’t moving on. Perhaps we become like a broken record harping on about who did what to us all the time. We then get labelled as the person who had that happen to him/her rather than the glorious being we truly are. We give all the power to the other people involved and we are firmly stuck in the past.

Turn it around. Take control. Find the way forward.

 

Get yourself back to being in balance so you can move on!

You can do this!

 

How I can support you

Many of my clients have been, or are, going through massive life changes. I often support several members of the family at the same time.

Holistic therapies are a superb way to take things forwards. They gently bring you back to being your true self again.

With remote consultations I can be your ‘secret helper’, working in the background to support you.

I was a Samaritan volunteer for several years and am also a good listener, able to empathise without judgement. My shamanic training taught me to tune in and sense what is required as well, intuitively giving me information in addition to the words we exchange.

Get started with a 45 minute consultation, let me support you to get your life back on track.

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Reg. Office: 1 Sycamore Close, Sibford Gower, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 5SB

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